They left me alone again, and I tried to read a book, but I kept being distracted by thoughts about anaesthetic. When I’d told a few people about my fears (i.e. EVERYONE who had ears), they’d all mentioned this pre-op thing which was supposed to make it all relaxing and chilled. No-one gave me that or talked to me about it, and to this day, I don’t know what it was or is! I think I slipped through the net and was forgotten or they thought the op was so run of the mill that they didn’t need to bother!
The anaesthetist eventually showed up and was a lovely guy. He asked me if I had any questions and my voice must have wobbled a fair bit when I told him I was a virgin (stop it) at this and could he help me with either getting me knocked out or getting me more chilled. He was fantastic – had a little ‘chat’ with someone who hadn’t given me pre-op gunk and then decided that as the op time was so close, that it was ok to take me down and stick lovely drug-giving needles in me.
I was wheeled down, and I don’t mind admitting that I was completely shitting myself. Not literally of course. That would have been appalling in paper knickers, but metaphorically, yes. The nurse that was pushing me was lovely and was soon joined by the anaesthetist, and they both did a fantastic job of convincing that they knew what they were doing. This was clearly ‘ordinary’ stuff for them. Just not for me!
They stuck the lovely needle thing in my hand – OUCH by the way – and the knockout doctor then asked me a strange question. ‘Do you like white wine?’. I wanted to go into the whole bears going into the forest and doing number two’s, etc., but I thought that would be out of place given that they didn’t know my sense of humour, so I settled for ‘Yes – absolutely!’.
He explained that when he pushed the button, it would feel like a giant glass of white wine was splashing down into me and I’d feel all lovely and relaxed. I wanted to say to him that I felt that would be HUGELY unlikely at this point, when lo and behold, just like the man said, I felt a weird cold sensation washing over me and a split second of ‘Ooooh yeah it d…..’
And then I found myself lying there and being moved again by a friendly nurse who asked me how I felt. Told her I was fine as I’d just had the white wine express and that I was waiting for the operation and very nervous. At least I think I said that. Not sure if the words were being formed by my mouth and transmitted by the power of speech.
She had a little laugh and told me that the op was over, lump was removed, nodes removed and sent away for testing and all good. The dye had shown that it did not look like the nodes were infected, so they only took one or two to test instead of knowing right away that they were fucked and whipping the whole lot out immediately.
I must have just continued to look gobsmacked because my recollection of what being under was like was…nothing. I blinked, then I was awake, and it was all over. Not even like sleep. No dreams because, I assume, the sleep is so deep that the brain just says “See ya!” for a little while. It was one of the weirdest experiences ever, but I was SO, SO, SO pleased to be alive.
That is SUCH a melodramatic and pathetic thing to write, and it makes me giggle now, but nothing has been more real and scary for me, and I was convinced I wouldn’t wake up. I’ve had another operation since (another story) and the fact that I’d been through it and knew what to expect, did not help me be more chilled about it, I can assure you.
They kept asking me if I was in pain and needed anything to help me and I just didn’t know. I wasn’t sure and couldn’t feel much of anything, so said I was fine. I don’t know what was expected because it was like it was happening to someone else and all numb. I did feel that my paper knickers were still there and although they wouldn’t have afforded much protection of my honour or vanity, I felt oddly pleased that I was ‘clothed’.
Then I remembered that about five people had seen my boob(s) and possibly more than one had had his fingers inside one of them trying to get some yucky shit out. It seemed a bit pointless to be concerned about the knickers after that!
They wheeled me to my hospital room for the night, and I contacted mum. I felt pretty rough before she got there and must have looked like poo because they took my blood pressure a few times and it was through the floor. Not sure what they did about that, but before mum got to the room they told her that I was ‘a bit pale’. Anyone who has ever seen me knows that’s a shocking understatement and so she was prepared for that. I don’t think she thought that I’d be the gorgeous shade of grey that I was, though!
I was EXTREMELY pleased to see her, whatever my skin tone and am pretty sure I had a little cry too for a second. I was 35 and a pretty independent woman, but when you’re poorly or worried, then it is good to be a bit feeble for a while.
After she had left, I had a constant flow of nurses coming to see how I was. I played on my phone and was texting a tonne of people and receiving lots of good wishes. It was lovely. Then I was ordered to go to sleep. Fair enough, I was drained. However, there were two things that they didn’t explain.
1. That they were going to place my legs in and turn on, some automatic massaging thing which ran up and down my calves to stop a DVT occurring. For your info, this is NOT a silent machine.
2. The temperature of the overnight ward was around 110 degrees!!! How the HELL are people supposed to sleep in that? Short answer? They can’t.
I must have dozed off eventually, but then woke up with a mouth as dry and manky as the bottom of a bird cage! Only to find that I needed the loo and couldn’t walk. I had to call someone to help me the two feet across to my bathroom and then just couldn’t wee. Apparently, this is normal after a general anaesthetic, but that’s another fun fact I hadn’t been aware of.
The nurse helpfully stayed just outside the door asking if I was ok. When I shouted that my wee workings were paralysed, she kindly leant into the bathroom and turned the tap on for me. Seconds later, I was going like a race horse and on looking down, shrieked out loud. ‘Cause my wee was bright, bloody blue!! They had, of course, warned me about this as they use the dye to trace and find cancer cells and the only way out for it is to find its way out ‘naturally’. Nice. Once I’d gotten over the shock, I was quite impressed with myself and wanted to take a picture to show the world. I wrestled with myself mentally and eventually found some decorum, so luckily Facebook is not in possession of a picture of my blue urine.
It did make me giggle, which was fortunate as I hadn’t understood the effect of a general on the body and mind. My mind is always a bit unusual, but it ultimately took it out of me. Thank the baby J, that mum came to get me fairly early on – they were so lovely and polite, but there’s no escaping that they SERIOUSLY want the room back and the next patient in there and being serviced. It is a business after all, and REAL money is changing hands (or insurance companies).
I was very pleased to get back to my old bedroom at Mum’s and just go to bed.